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Argue that Canada is NOT a meritocracy


Meritocracy is the idea that “getting ahead is based on individual merit, which is generally viewed as a combination of factors including innate abilities, hard work, intelligence, credentials, and education”. In meritocracies everyone would have an equal opportunity to succeed.

Meritocracy is a positive ideal, however most sociologists do not believe that Canada is a meritocracy.  They argue that opportunity and success are largely determined by factors other than one’s talent, skill, and hard work.  They emphasise the roles that class, gender, and race/ethnicity play in opportunities and constraints.

Your assignment is to argue that Canada is NOT a meritocracy. You will do this by exploring social inequality and explaining how a person’s positioning in the social categories of gender, class, and/or race/ethnicity impact their opportunities (or lack thereof).

You can pick one topic to explore (i.e. gender) or you can look at multiple topics.   You must use:

At least one reading assigned in the syllabus (i.e. a textbook chapter). You can use more than one class reading if you like, and

At least TWO Carleton library sources to support your position (you can use more if you like).

1) Knuttila, M. (2008). Introducing Sociology: A Critical Approach (4th ed.). Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.

Murray, J. and Linden, R. and Kendall, J. (2014). Sociology in Our Times (6th Canadian ed.), Toronto: Nelson Education Ltd.

2)Author McInturff, Kate Elaine, 1968-

Title The best and worst place to be a woman in Canada [electronic resource] : an index of gender equality in Canada’s twenty largest metropolitan areas / Kate McInturff.

Distributor Beaconsfield, Quebec : Canadian Electronic Library, 2014.

3Author Ornstein, Michael D.,

Title Racialization and gender of lawyers in Ontario [electronic resource] : a report for the Law Society of Upper Canada / Michael Ornstein.

Publisher Beaconsfield, Quebec : Canadian Electronic Library, 2014.

4Author McInturff, Kate Elaine, 1968-

Title Ontario’s gender gap [electronic resource] : women and jobs post-recession / Kate McInturff.

Publisher Beaconsfield, Quebec : Canadian Electronic Library, 2014.

5) Author Denton, Margaret.

Title Gender inequality in the wealth of older Canadians [electronic resource] / Margaret Denton, Linda Boos.

Publisher Hamilton, Ont. : Research Institute for Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population, McMaster University, 2007 (Saint-Lazare, Quebec : Gibson Library Connections, 2008).

6)Title Feminist history in Canada [electronic resource] : new essays on women, gender, work, and nation / edited by Catherine Carstairs and Nancy Janovicek.

Publisher Vancouver [British Columbia] : UBC Press, 2013.

7)Author Edwards, Peggy.

Title Elder abuse in Canada [electronic resource] : a gender-based analysis / prepared by Peggy Edwards for the Division of Aging and Seniors, Public Health Agency of Canada, under the Federal Elder Abuse Initiative.


[Ottawa, Ont.] : Public Health Agency of Canada, Division of Aging and Seniors, c2012 (Beaconsfield, Quebec : Canadian Electronic Library, 2012).


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